How do we inspire renewed civic purpose in Canada? How do we move beyond the simple phrases of “you should run for office” or “you should vote” towards a more nuanced understanding of democratic engagement?
These are questions that have guided the Samara Centre’s efforts in 2022. A year where we have examined technology’s influence on our democratic culture, explored the generational implications of pandemic school closures on youth civic literacy and studied the lived experience of politicians.
It’s a privilege to work on supporting a vibrant culture of civic engagement and we can’t do it without you. In this season of giving please consider making a gift to the Samara Centre. Your support will further our efforts to secure a resilient democracy with responsive institutions and an engaged public.
Read on for a selection of highlights from our work this year plus an exciting announcement about a new collaboration (get ready to tune in 🎧).
Warmest wishes for the new year,
Sabreena Delhon Executive Director
In Defence of Democracy on CBC IDEAS
In November we celebrated our 15th anniversary by welcoming former Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi as the keynote speaker for the In Defence of Democracy public lecture.
Following his address, Mr. Nenshi was in conversation with host of CBC Radio’s IDEAS, Nahlah Ayed discussing the importance of local democracy and what we can do to inspire civic renewal in Canada. The program was recently broadcast as an IDEASepisode and is available on their podcast.
We’re launching a podcast!
We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the award winning podcast company Media Girlfriends. Together, we are creating a new podcast based on recent interviews with former Members of Parliament that will launchin 2023. You’ll hear the voices of former MPs breaking it all down - demystifying life in federal politics and sharing their thoughts about attracting and retaining the best and brightest as political leaders.
Our publications this year examined online toxicity as a barrier to civic engagement and the impact of the pandemic on youth civic literacy
SAMBot Federal Election Snapshot and Data Release This snapshot provides a detailed analysis of all tweets tracked by SAMbot in the 2021 Canadian Federal Election. It was published with a companion Data Release that provides a breakdown of over 2.5 million tweets to further the efforts of other researchers.
SAMbot Ontario Election Snapshot This snapshot provides a detailed analysis of all tweets tracked by SAMbot in the 2022 Ontario Provincial Election. SAMbot monitored the public Twitter accounts of 486 candidates and 14 official parties for the full election period.
This year we shared insights from our research at a wide range of events across different sectors. We also convened experts to explore solutions to online toxicity. A selection of our 2022 engagements is below.
Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) | October 2022 The Samara Centre provided witness testimony to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) study on hybrid parliament, underscoring that it provides a key way to further a representative, efficient and modern democracy.
Maytree’s Five Good Ideas | September 2022 Sabreena shared her thoughts for how non-profits can evolve their impact in this period of transformation for Maytree's Five Good Ideas series.
Detoxing Democracy Webinar | August 2022 The Samara Centre hosted a summer webinar to share findings from the SAMbot Federal Election tracking and discuss solutions to online toxicity with multidisciplinary experts..
RightsCon: Detoxing Democracy with SAMbot | June 2022 SAMbot made its international debut with Vijai and Sabreena sharing insights about using machine learning to measure toxicity in Canada’s online political conversation.